The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 36: The Completion of the Conquest

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq


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Umar was dressed in simple, patched garments as he was wont to wear in the time of the Holy Prophet. Becoming Caliph had made no difference to his austere and unspoiled way of life, and he continued to abhor luxury and ostentation.

Recovering from their discomfiture, Khalid and Yazeed hastily opened their robes and showed the armour and weapons which they wore underneath. "O Commander of the Faithful!" they cried. "These are only garments. We still carry our weapons". 1 Umar was sufficiently mollified by this reply. Now Abu Ubaidah walked up, dressed as simply and unaffectedly as always, and the Caliph and the Commander-in-Chief shook hands and embraced each other.

From Jabiya, Umar proceeded to Jerusalem, accompanied by his generals and the escort. His arrival at Jerusalem was a great moment for the Muslim soldiers, and they rejoiced at the sight of their ruler.

Next day, at about noon, Umar sat with a large group of Companions, talking of this and that. Soon it would be time for the early afternoon prayer. Bilal the Negro was also present. Bilal, who has been mentioned in the second chapter of this book, had suffered many tortures in the early days of Islam at the hands of the unbelieving Qureish, but had remained steadfast in his faith. When the institution of the Adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) was adopted in 2 Hijri, the Prophet appointed Bilal as the Muazzin; and thereafter, five times a day, the powerful and melodious voice of Bilal could be heard at Madinah, calling the Faithful to prayer. Over the years Bilal had risen in stature as a saintly Muslim, and had become one of the closest and most venerated Companions of the Prophet. But on the death of the Holy Prophet, Bilal had fallen silent; he would not call the Adhan any more.

It now occurred to some of the Companions that perhaps the conquest of the holy city of Jerusalem was an important enough occasion for Bilal to break his silence. They asked Umar to urge him to call the Adhan, just this one time! Umar turned to Bilal: "O Bilal! The Companions of the Messenger of Allah implore you to call the Adhan and remind them of the time of their Prophet, on whom be the blessings of Allah and peace." 2 For a few moments Bilal remained lost in thought. Then he looked at the eager faces of the Companions and at the thousands of Muslim soldiers who were gathering for the congregational prayer. Then he stood up. Bilal would call the Adhan again!

The glorious voice of the illustrious Muazzin beat upon the vast multitude. As he called the opening words, Allah is Great, the minds of the Faithful turned to memories of the dearly loved Muhammad and tears welled up in their eyes. When Bilal came to the words, Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, his audience broke down and sobbed.

1. Tabari: Vol. 3, p. 103.
2. Waqidi: p. 165.